The test of any model, as Milton Friedman put it, “is its ability to predict.”
So in writing tentatively about the Washington Wizards and the Ewing Theory a couple weeks ago, 247 was careful to point out that Washington’s schedule was about to toughen.
“With the schedule coming up… Cavs, Hornets, 76ers, Bucks, Warriors, Raptors,” an editor wrote at the IGN.com boards, the Wall-Wizards Ewing Theory issue “get a real test.”
Well, so far so good. With the Wizards win over the Cavs on Thursday, 110-103, Washington improved to 8-2 since Wall’s unfortunate knee injury several weeks ago.
“Wizards stay hot sans Wall, upset Cavs,” the NBA.com header read. For understandable reasons, the NBA has been every reticent over the years in even hinting at the Ewing Theory. The phrase appears once in a 2011 blog post about the Knicks and Carmello Anthony, but this was in a fan reply. Still further back, the NBA used the “ET” phrase in an about Kevin Durant — but was musing about whether there was an application to the University of Texas during KD’s rookie year.
Particularly notable: The Cavaliers trade-deadline moves seemed to put a real spark into Cleveland just before the all-star break. Added to which, the team had a little time to integrate its new additions from just before the break.
Of course, the Wizards had the same few days to study and get ready for the new-look Cavs. And, maybe they were just a little off their guard. So it must be said again: It’s just one game. But it is also:
Another brick in the Wall
Against the Cavs, Tomas Satoransky — filling in for Wall — scored 17 points and dished out 8 assists in just over 30 minutes. One notable plus: zero turnovers.
“Everybody eats,” John Beal commented post-game. “That’s the way we need to play.”
This is a misunderstood aspect of the Ewing Theory. Defensive fans often reply, “it’s just that the team is stepping up and playing together more.” That is exactly one of the reasons why a team sometimes rallies and plays better in the absence of a star who’s been traded or injured.
The “Ewing Theory” carries in itself the idea that this is not an iron law or rule of physics; in fact, it’s more of a special case named to explain a paradox.
The win was only the second in 10 games against a team with winning record. Washington is now 2-2 against such teams over the Wall-less stretch.
Still, it’s another suggestive data point.
Cubelar at the IGN.com boards writes that in the last 10 games, the Wizards have surged in a number of advanced stat measurements, particularly those having to do with ball movement.
ORating: 111.5 (7th in the NBA)
DRating: 104.9 (8th)
NetRating: 6.6 (6th)
AST %: 71.0 (1st)
AST/TO: 2.15 (2nd)
Passes made: 313.9 (9th)
AST: 30.3 (1st)
Secondary AST: 5.1 (1st)
Potentinal AST: 54.2 (1st)
AST to PASS ratio: 9.7 (1st)
Let’s talk about John Wall and the Ewing Theory, Cubelar, IGN boards, 6 February 2018 (and updates).